M-Net Africa is so thrilled to welcome Uganda’s dynamic young media star, ‘Lee’ Kasumba to its Channel O Africa team. A successful TV host, entertainment personality, radio presenter and producer, she is no stranger to the spotlight but that spotlight is about to get a whole lot brighter!
“Africa is the soundtrack to my life, the sounds, the rhythms, the beats of the continent, that’s my music, that’s my thing. So I was delighted when I got the chance to join this iconic African music brand,” says Lee on her appointment as CHANNEL O Africa’s new Channel Manager, talent seeker and African champion.
Tasked with growing and diversifying Channel O’s African portfolio, Lee is enthusiastic about taking the already well-established, well-loved brand to the next level. “Channel O was the first of its kind in Africa, so it was the pioneer for music TV on the continent. That’s a fact. Another fact is that with its proudly African roots and its African focus it really should set the pace when it comes to the African music scene. That’s my job now and it’s very exciting!”
Just a few months into her new role and the energetic Lee has already launched several innovative on-air pieces. The first of these is the breakout Africa Dreaming promos which feature both established African artists and rising stars sharing their vision for their home continent with audiences.
“Our singers, songwriters and musicians, they are the voice of our generation, of Africa. So we thought it would be great for them to tell us their visions, hopes, dreams, aspirations. It’s what drives their music so we feel fans should see it. We’re delighted with the results – it’s inspirational, heartfelt and uplifting. They have such dreams for the continent, it’s amazing. And they were all so supportive.”
Artists who took up the call from Channel O were D Black (Ghana), HHP (South Africa), Juacali (Kenya), P Square (Nigeria), Crisis (Zambia), MI (Nigeria), Navio (Uganda), Nonini (Kenya), Proverb (South Africa) and Wyre (Kenya) to name a few.
Next Kasumba took on the challenge of showcasing new artists with a short 5-minute series simply entitled Introducing that focuses on 2 new artists monthly and began by profiling Uganda’s Keko and Nigeria’s Muna.“Everyone involved in the African music industry understands how important new talent is. Producers, artists, writers…everyone wants to know what’s the next new trend; the hot new star. So a short series that introduces talent from specific countries to the entire continent, that’s a must do.”
Also on Kasumba’s agenda – the Channel O Video Music Awards which are coming up later in the year.
“Again, the awards were another first by Channel O in the market, so now the aim is to make these awards even bigger, better and to encourage participation from more artists across Africa. It’s their awards ultimately, it celebrates them, showcases them. So the more artists who participate, the better it is for Africa’s music industry to improve, strengthen and innovate.”
With several years experience in the industry, Lee holds an impressive track record in entertainment.
A former producer/DJ on YFM in South Africa, she hosted the TV show Sprite Emcee Africa. Invited to Norway for the Think Mental Fashion event, she participated as a speaker and concert host. She also hosted the Basketball Beyond Borders event, an NBA project for young African basketball players. A keynote speaker with Chuck D and Dead Prez at the Baobab Youth Conference in Cape Town, she’s interviewed, among others, Damian Marley, K’naan, Ludacris, Snoop Dogg, Missy Elliot, Eve and Pras of the Fugees.
She’s also interviewed CNN correspondent, author and civil rights activist Charlayne Hunter-Gault in her home for YMAG and Oprah Winfrey in an impromptu interview for TV. Lee, the longest serving editor of youth magazine YMAG, also graced its cover alongside former South African president Thabo Mbeki. A part of the judging panel at the South African Music Awards and the Hype Awards, she’s also worked with Africa Unsigned, which provides opportunities for aspiring African musicians. In 2009 she hosted Afro-Picks, unearthing the history and present state of African music for the international Red Bull Music Academy Radio.
Having been invited to speak on youth issues for the UN’s Habitat project, she attended events in Vancouver (Canada), Madrid (Spain) and Johannesburg (South Africa). A regular contributor to BBC World Have Your Say and BBC World Service, Lee worked as a freelance writer for the likes of Dazed and Confused Japan where she penned a 16-page editorial on HIV/Aids. She’s also a contributing editor to Ghetto Radio, a Netherlands/Kenya online magazine.
Commenting on Lee’s appointment at Channel O, M-Net Africa Managing Director Biola Alabi says, “M-Net is very excited to have Lee on board. She’s committed and focused and I am confident that Channel O audiences will directly benefit from her new role.”